A Change in Entropy

I was just a physics student. Not an exceptional one at that, either, but I had a certain degree of tenacity that counts for something. After all, to quit now would negate the last two or three years of my life. So you can imagine my surprise when the world sort of jumped and turned away as if someone twisted the fabric of space and I was a speck that go wrung out.

"Oh, this is really weird," I thought. But I'd seen some pretty counterintuitive things these last few years, so I figured I was asleep and looked around me. It looked as though I was on the outskirts of some village, but there were nearly a hundred pairs of identical black eyes staring at me. The village, it seemed, had been expecting me.

"Hi," said I.

"Hi," was the murmured response from a few in the audience. One middle aged man stepped towards me. "Helllooow, Hellloooow!" and he bustled over to me, "Let's get you to the lab," and the shooed at the crowd. As they dispersed, I wondered at their retreating backs. Boys just small copies of the men, and girls as alike as their co-women.

"Some dream," I thought. The man was talking, "…and so that's how we came to get you."

"I'm sorry, what?"

"I said, it's Thursday, and it is entirely improbable that you would arrive on a Thursday, so we knew that's when you'd come. And is was entirely improbable, too, that you would just spontaneously appear at the edge of the village so we looked for you there. Even so, I'm glad you came today, rather than yesterday."

"I don't understand."

"Of course you don't. Yesterday seems like it would be just as improbable as today, but in fact it's not. That's because yesterday happens all the time, whereas today happens only once. Ah, here we are. My lab."

I was expecting the lab, as it were, to be some odd spectacle of funny contraptions, but it wasn't. It looked surprisingly like the physics lab I should have been sitting in right then. There were the familiar black lab tables, but rather than red leather stools, there were very comfortable looking recliners. I wondered how the average student would survive even the most exciting lecture in such enticing chairs. My host had been talking again, and if I was to make any sense of my surroundings, I figured I had better start paying attention.

"…the laws of physics are never quite what they seem to be if you take into account the statistical abnormalities in your universe." Here he paused at my astonished grimace as I sat down on one of the chairs, assuming that I would get my lecture (even if it wasn't quite what I was expecting, and I was sure this material wouldn't be on the exam). The chair, though seemingly plush and luxurious, was actually hard and prickly and quite uncomfortable. By way of explanation, he said with a smile, "You couldn't have thought that I would allow for my lecture to be an afternoon nap, did you?"

"No, I suppose not." I blushed. "Um, you mentioned something about my universe, as though there are more than one, namely, the one I am in now."

"Oh, right. Now, we have been studying your universe for eons, and it seems that the most significant difference between yours and ours is that your structure and consequently life is dependent upon statistical variations and the concept of infinity. Namely infinite probability. We find it altogether intriguing that you came up with laws that can describe your universe. But that is beside the point. The point is this:

I have been working on a thesis that basically says my universe is the creation of all the statistical abnormalities of your universe. Take, for example, your internal combustion engine. On your earth, if you ignite a mixture of gas and water vapor, it will do some useful work, with some of the energy being lost to the misalignment of the atoms and molecules that have unorganized velocities. The probability that every molecule will be properly aligned to do the work that you want it to do, is as you know, nearly zero. However, when I fill up my gas tank, I use a syringe, because all of the velocities in my concentration are properly aligned. It happens this way with any statistical anomaly you are familiar with."

I thought I was beginning to understand, so I piped up, "Like, the probability that all of your population would look exactly alike is so small that it really does happen?!" My estranged professor beamed at me through a halo of chalk dust and said, "Yes, exactly!"

"What about this, " I asked, getting exited. "The probability that I could jump off this table and do a triple flip in the time it takes to land on the ground is practically non-existent, so that means I could do it!" And before he could get a word in edgewise, I launched off the lab bench to do the experiment. I must admit I was truly baffled that I landed in a crumpled heap on the cold tile flooring. The professor was nonpulsed.

"No, actually, that wouldn't work because probability dos not govern talent."

"Oh," I winced.

"Getting back to my theory," he continued, blinking at my struggle to get up. "I propose that for every time a statistical anomaly does not occur on Earth, or in earth's universe, the certainty with which it will occur here increases exponentially. To add up the exceedingly large numbers required to do this, I have created a new branch of mathematics called anomolus, whose main function is to perform summation calculations more powerful than the integral. I call it the ultragral, for lack of a more imaginative handle. The notation is thus," and he drew a large symbol that looked like this: !. He continued, "it just so happens that using anomolus, the sum analogous to 2+2=4 actually creates the number 5. Larger numbers, of course, create larger discrepancies from arithmetic and calculus."

"Wow," I breathed, " I always thought I was in the wrong universe." My host heard me and said, "Yes, that is why you have come. It seems that in doing your homework you have stumbled many a time upon the effects of anomolus, and I am glad you are the one who came. It was entirely improbable that the very person I needed would be the one to cross over, so that is why I expected you."

He seemed to be finished with his lecture.

"So, that's it?" I asked.

"Yes, that's it," he answered.


"Do you have any questions?"

"Yes, what about the effects of time? Does time depend on probability? Like, if I was taking physics here, and I failed a test, it wouldn't be probable that I could go back in time and fix it, so does that mean I could?" I was debating staying here and completing my physics degree, but the question of ethics is always a barb to progress.

"Like I said, probability has nothing to do with talent or work ethics. But you did mention an interesting subject. Another key difference to our universe is the way time flows. In yours, it goes in a straight line. However, once it reaches our universe, it tends to have little eddy currents that curl bank onto your space, which is how we can observe your universe. I will be sending you back on one shortly. In fact, here comes one now."

It was the strangest thing, but I too, saw the little current of time coming towards me, gaining speed as it got closer. It's path was already curving towards the world that I knew, so I had to say a quick goodbye.
"Hey, um, this was really cool. Thanks."

"Eddytime," was the wry response.